Bhimashankar is located 125 km away from Pune in the Ghat region of Sahyadri hills. As it’s located 3500 ft. above sea level, it observes low temperature as well as heavy showers in monsoon season. Trek to Bhimashankar is known to be one of the best treks in Sahyadri ranges.
The Bhimashankar temple (one of 12 Jyotirlingas) is a composite of old and the new structures and is built in the Nagara style of architecture. It is a modest yet graceful temple and it dates back to the mid-18th century. The Shikhar of the temple was built by Nana Phadnavis. The great Maratha ruler Shivaji is also said to have made endowments to this temple to facilitate the carrying out, of worship services. As with other Shiva temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level.
It is also becoming one of the attractive and well known religious places in Maharashtra as well as in India. Bhimashankar is the source of the river Bhima, which is known as “Chandrabhaga” in Pandharpur.
In recent times it has gained tremendous significance since it was declared as “WILDLIFE SANCTUARY”. Bhimashankar is also home to the barking deer’s, wild boars and many other small herbivores. It is also host to small carnivores like a jackal.
The forest of Bhimashankar is the paradise for nature lovers as it hosts several exotic species of wildlife and the most famous of all being the elusive rust-coloured Giant Squirrel (Ratufa Indica Elphinstone – ‘Shekaru‘ in Marathi) – the state animal of Maharashtra.
Shidi Ghat (Ladder Route) is no doubt shorter trip but trekking through this route gets tricky especially during the monsoon season. This route is steep and has ladders in midway which make the entire trail all the more challenging. It is a tough route but well defined one through steep climbs up and down, Crossing Streams, Waterfalls deep into the forests, Climbing Rocks and off-course ladders affixed into rock faces. One can surely enjoy this adventurous trek in monsoon.
The route starts from Khandas Village. The route to the left of the well in the village leads to the Shidi Ghat. This is one of the difficult routes to Bhimashankar. This route becomes very treacherous and slippery during the monsoon. There are three ladders in this route and two rock patches. Further ahead there is hut where the routes from the Ganesh Ghat and Shidi Ghat merge. A further trek from dense forest takes us besides a pond. The road, which goes to the left from this pond, takes us to the temple.
This is the easiest route to Bhimashankar. This route has scenic views such as Bhimashankar Wall and Padargad fort. It then takes to a Ganesh temple within an hour of trekking. The route ahead consumes more time and takes 4-5 hours to reach the end.
Fascinate in the natural beauty of the place, no matter what route you choose, you will be assured with bounties of natural beauty as you make your way to the top. Delight in the stunning landscapes of the region while embarking on this pleasing Bhimashankar trekking experience.